This past week has been a doosie in regards to failings and humility and the need for grace. I won't go into detail, but I pretty much sucker punched myself in the gut and toppled squarely into the category of "People I Never Thought I'D Be Like". Not the first time I've joined "Those People" (you know, those people who do X, Y, or Z, and make us swear we will never do X, Y, or Z...), mind you, but this time it was really something else. Anyway, awful as I was (I don't recommend trying to get into such situations), it is a timely reminder about how much we all need grace, not only from God, but also from each other. We need to treat each other with mercy, compassion, patience, understanding, and charity at all times, and most especially when we really, really don't feel like it, because they simply "don't deserve" it. Why? Because that is how Christ treats us, every single time we do something that hurts him. And we are called to follow in His footsteps. Though falling in with the "Those People" crowd isn't a good thing of itself, there can be good that comes from it. A reminder that we really aren't that much better than anyone else, that "But for the grace of God" we could very easily be the prostitute, the druggie, the abuser. A reminder of just how little humility can be found up there on the pedestal where we had placed ourselves. An opening of our eyes to our own need for grace, and the understanding of just how much others need it, too.
So I try to give grace. To the parents whose child is acting out, because I know that someday I'll be there too. To the girl who's living with her fiance, because she is afraid to get married again. To the rebellious teen, who's fighting an inner battle they are afraid to let anyone see. To the mom who screams at her kids, because I know what it's like to be at the end of my rope. To the dad who feels like he's a lousy father because all he seems to do is work.
How do I give grace? By listening; by doing my very best to understand where they are coming from; by patiently and lovingly giving advice where needed; by not condemning them to everlasting hell fire because of their past, or even their present. Not to say that we should overlook the graveness of sin, but perhaps focus more on the things which they are doing right; give encouragement where it is due. Because every single one of us has a past. Some may have larger sins than others, but each and every one of us has contributed to the Passion of Christ, each and every one of us has wounded His Most Sacred Heart. Yet Christ fiercely desires to see each and every one of us united to Him in the Beatific Vision and treats us with compassion and mercy. How can we do anything less? Give Grace.